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Iowa Ham Balls Recipe
Iowa Ham Balls Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Iowa Ham Balls Recipe

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4.5 10
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This is a special recipe my whole family likes. Every time they visit and I make Ham Balls, they're all smiles. When I take this to potluck meals, I'm always asked to share the recipe. It's very appropriate for my region, too, since Iowa farmers raise prize-winning pigs and cattle.
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour
MAKES:15 servings
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 15 min. Bake: 1 hour
MAKES: 15 servings


  • 3-1/2 pounds ground ham
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups milk
  • 3 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 2 cans (10-3/4 ounces each) tomato soup, undiluted
  • 3/4 cup vinegar
  • 2-1/2 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 piece) equals 606 calories, 29 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 136 mg cholesterol, 1,648 mg sodium, 53 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 32 g protein.


  1. In a large bowl, combine first five ingredients. Using a 1/3 cup measure, shape mixture into 2-in. balls. Place in two large shallow roasting pans. Combine all remaining ingredients; pour over balls. Bake at 325° for 1 hour, basting frequently with sauce. Yield: about 15 servings.
Originally published as Iowa Ham Balls in Country April/May 1992, p47

Nutritional Facts

1 serving (1 piece) equals 606 calories, 29 g fat (10 g saturated fat), 136 mg cholesterol, 1,648 mg sodium, 53 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 32 g protein.

Medium-Bodied White Wine

Enjoy this recipe with a medium-bodied white wine such as Riesling or Gewürtztraminer

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Reviewed Oct. 5, 2015

" the calories really over 600 calories for one two inch ball? Thanks"

Reviewed Nov. 22, 2014

"Well first off we live in Georgia so not sure if we are drawn to the same spice as this was WAY to sweet for our liking. We went with the ground turkey and a slice and serve ham that I ground myself. Also the texture was a lot looser than I expected. It just didn't have that snap that a good meatball has. I would give this a 2 1/2 star meaning it was ok. It was edible but not enjoyable for us."

Reviewed Dec. 24, 2013

"Well living in Phoenix now for two decades nothing helps cure homesick at holidays like back in Iowa Ham balls (grandma famous stuff yourself family favorite) all I can say is in IOWA we DONT USE BEEF but correctly ground pork (shoulder) but I do like this version with more egg than grandma's. Also if you want balls a bit less sweet is to substitue one cup Ritz crackers for one cup graham crackers. Crisler/favorite side to use the extra gravy on top of cream cheese loaded mashed potatoes..YUM!"

Reviewed Apr. 15, 2013

"Wow this was a hit at my Easter family gathering. The hard part of the recipe is expecting the butcher to grind up a ham, well I learned they don't. So I used my Kitchenaid attachment to grind meat and it worked perfectly. I cooked the meatballs in the oven in glasspans ahead of time. The day of the party I transferred them to a slow cooker and made more sauce to add to the slow cooker. I did change the recipe and did not use as much sugar. I think I used 1.5 cups instead of the 2.5 cups. I also substituted the ground beef with ground turkey instead."

Reviewed Feb. 8, 2013

"Reminds me of when I ws a child!"

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